Hey, dads. Let me apologize. See, despite how many of you step up to the parenting plate every day, sometimes on your own, we still tend to put you on the back burner a lot in the United States. In fact, I just watched comedian Ali Wong hilariously point out in her Netflix special just how low our expectations for men really are. And those low expectations mean we're not marketing for Father's Day on the same par as we do for Mother's Day, and that we're not giving you the same awesome gift variety moms get.
(I. Am. So. Sorry.)
Why men don't get the attention
Jon Beekman, CEO of Man Crates, notes that, despite the fact the National Retail Federation projects that 2018 Father's Day sales will hit almost $15.3 billion, the men's gifting segment remains massively underserved.
"Entrepreneurs have a tendency to go toward the biggest pool of money," Beekman explains. "When it comes to retail, that means women and moms, which leaves huge opportunity. [...People] are stuck buying the stereotypical ties, socks and gift cards. The market is ripe for innovation [...]."
"[Companies that create something that the gifter can get excited about and will help show their loved one how much they care gives a business an opportunity to take over a great deal of the market, beat out the stereotypical gift cards or tool belts, and gain loyal consumers, who will look to them for gifting time and again."
Finding the marketing and design "sweet spot"
Beekman adds that, as most businesses focus on products for women, they lose sight that women are the majority of the population in the men's gifting sector. And as buyers, women are just as frustrated with the lack of variety in men's products as the men are.
"The companies getting it right in terms of product design and marketing for Father's Day are those that create content that appeals to women and products that appeal to men. [...If] women are the ones making the purchases for major men's gifting occasions like Father's Day, the marketing needs to be geared toward that demographic."
Hitting this sweet spot doesn't have to take a ton of resources or effort. It simply means you have to understand what motivates women to buy, how women communicate and how women behave with household funds (which they typically control). It's an idea that's driven Man Crates since its inception six years ago.
Adding in experience
But directing your message to ladies is not the only goal you should have. In general, most buyers--particularly millennials--don't want to spend tons of money on a bunch of stuff anymore. They want to shell out cash for memories, simply because it's within those memories that real enjoyment and happiness sit. So as you design your Father's Day products and services, there needs to be an experiential element, too.
"[Every] Man Crate is built to create an experience, which starts with the actual gifting moment where we want to create a memory for the gifter and the recipient vs. a transactional exchange. Then, each product is curated so the gifter can truly enjoy the experience of using the gift, whether that's creating his own custom Scrimshaw Knife with one of our popular maker kits, or sipping his favorite whiskey from his personalized decanter in the Whiskey Appreciation Crate. Whatever the gift our buyer selects, we want to give them more than just a product because great Dads deserve gifts that honor their awesomeness."
Even taking this experiential component into consideration, Beekman asserts that innovation tends to start with women, with analogous companies for men lagging behind. But the latter businesses are catching up, particularly in fashion, where companies like Bonobos, Trunk Club, Mizzen & Main and Indochinio are setting good examples. And men's ecommerce is marking strides, too, with companies like Man Crates further supporting a shift to the memory-oriented era.
So dads, be encouraged. We care about you. And while it might take some time to totally even the playing field, we're starting to make intentional movements to recognize just how diverse your preferences and interests are. When we can recognize that individuality, we do our part to grow the confidence you need to be the amazing fathers we know you can be. And the irony behind that is, ultimately, believing in your ability to step up ends up giving women the lighter loads they've wanted for decades, too. Everybody, truly, can win.